Kittler and the Media (TM - Theory and Media) Hardcover – 3 Dec 2010
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" Kittler and the Media is informed, lucid, and entertaining. Winthrop–Young is a world expert writing in both English and German on the work of Friedrich Kittler and I expect this book to become the English–language Virgil for Kittler′s ′selva oscura′."
John Durham Peters, University of Iowa
"A key work in contemporary media theory, this study is a step toward readjusting the question of the media in today′s debates. Kittler′s beland of Heideggerian history of Being and Neitzschean genealogy is meticulously retraced. And – even more importantly – Winthrop–Young addresses a fascination with technology, the beloves twentieth–century enemy of philosophy and the humanities."
Rudiger Campe, Yale University
"Witty, concise and insightful, Kittler and the Media covers the three major phases of Kittler′s career, including Kittler′s recent work on the Greek alphabet, and traces connecting threads through the different phases. Deeply thought through Kittler and the Media covers essential points of media theory in its German and international contexts."
Katherine Hayles, Duke University
From the Back Cover
With books such as Discourse Networks and Gramophone, Film, Typewriter and the collection Literature, Media, Information Systems, Friedrich Kittler has established himself as one of the world′s most influential media theorists. He is also one of the most controversial and misunderstood.
Kittler and the Media offers students of media theory an introduction to Kittler′s basic ideas. Following an introduction that situates Kittler′s work against the tumultuous background of German 20th–century history (from the Second World War and the cultural upheaval of the late 1960s to reunification), the book provides succinct summaries of Kittler′s early discourse–analytical work inspired by French post–structuralism, his media–related theorising and his most recent writings on cultural techniques and the notation systems of Ancient Greece.
This clear and engaging overview of a fascinating theorist will be welcomed by students and scholars alike of media, communication and cultural studies.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
By the end of the book I felt that I had a basic grasp of his major theories, however this was only possible due to my prior knowledge of the works of Foucault, Heidegger and Lacan, which are heavily referenced here. The author presupposes the reader has a decent grounding in poststructuralist / postmodern theory. Be warned, if this does not apply to you the book will at times be difficult to follow. The author also makes occasional references in German and classic Greek, sometimes offering translation, sometimes not.
I'd like to give the book 4 stars, however I feel that the title is a bit misleading. The book doesn't specifically cover Kittler's views on `The Media' i.e. modern mass media which the title suggests. There are fleeting mentions but only in the general context of his genealogy of theory. Students of communications / media who will probably buy this book may not find his musings on the Greek alphabet and lovemaking gods relevant. There were also a few typos towards the end of the book.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Winthrop-Young presents three stages in Kittler’s writing. In the 1970s and early 1980s Kittler applied Foucauldian discourse analysis to German literary studies. His reading of the “Goethe-Zeit” in “Aufschreibesysteme” was a sort of parricide in German Studies and extremely provocative in the context of German language and literature studies seminaries at that time. From 1980 to 2000 Kittler dealt with media technologies, typewriters, gramophones and digital technologies. He merged the technological determinism of Marshall McLuhan with his Post-Structuralism. From 2000 until his death 2011 Kittler extended his research to a genealogy of culture techniques.
I worked in Information Technology during these years and look back with some anger and shame about my own naiveté now. Like most IT specialists I had illusions about “User-Friendly Software” and “Democracy and the Internet”, because I focussed too much on the technology and the media instead of the capitalist relations of productions. Actually the Internet did not lead to more democracy. Information Technology was misused by the Neoliberal turn for a global restructuration of capitalism and we had become useful blind followers. Kittler’s technical determinism and disregard of the capitalist nature of society very much resembles the IT illusions I am ashamed of now. A criticism of Kittler’s technology-centric arguments could help to develop a critique of ideology of Software Engineering and Information Technology.
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